Tymniak: An Artificial Budget?

Chris Tymniak, Republican candidate for First Selectman in Fairfield in 2015, released the following statement on Fairfield’s proposed 2015-16 budget:

On Monday evening, the Fairfield RTM will vote on a Town & Education budget encroaching on $300 million annually.  For the fourth consecutive year, I am disappointed with the budget proposed by First Selectman Mike Tetreau.  The First Selectman is the CEO of our Town.  He is responsible for crafting the town’s budget — and the budget document should be a responsible, financially viable plan that lays out a vision for the town.

Above all, the budget must be fair and balanced to the needs of our community. That means being responsive to our young people by providing strong schools.  It also means providing good local services to those who rely on town programs.   A real budget is one that supports our shared future by helping Fairfield achieve even stronger economic and social health. And a responsible, financially viable budget plan is one that recognizes the ever-increasing burdens we have continued to place on our taxpayers.

In his first three budget proposals, the First Selectman averaged a 4.35% tax increase on the residents of Fairfield – topping out at a 6.38% proposal in 2013!  The First Selectman’s election year proposal offers the illusion of lower spending, however, that illusion is built on one-time savings that are being deferred to the years following the election.  Some might even call this an “artificial” budget.  When those deferred costs are taken out of the equation, the First Selectman’s proposed tax increase is effectively over 4% again.

The answer to the budgeting problem is strong leadership, vision and management.  The First Selectman’s budget proposals over the last four years reveal that he is not concerned with keeping town government affordable while maintaining the exemplary services that this town provides to its residents.

Under the Tetreau administration, the annual tax increases on Fairfield residents were kept in check only by the process of the boards and the RTM exercising their oversight authority and making reductions to the overall budget.  Although this process has prevented runaway tax increases over the past four years, it is not the most effective way to accomplish that goal.  We can and must do better.

These past several years have highlighted the shortcomings of the process: The RTM can only reduce proposed items, not offer binding solutions or alternatives.  Therefore, when the First Selectman doesn’t present a well-thought, financially viable budget, the town suffers – either with unmanageable tax increases or reductions to the wrong areas – or both.

I have struggled over the past years to work with the proposed budgets and achieve my goal as a representative to the RTM: to keep government affordable while strengthening our schools, public safety, finances and quality of life.  I know that a budget rooted in these priorities that also takes advantage of efficiencies and grows our grand list can make our town an even more prosperous place to live and work.  But unfortunately, the First Selectman’s proposal does not represent such a budget.

The campaign can be found online at TymniakforFairfield.com  /  Facebook  /  Twitter.

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